5 New Nature-based Rituals for the Permaculture Transition.

Vision by Willi Paul, openmythsource.com

Shared Work / Experience > Result + Evaluation > Celebration / Reflection / Lesson / Prayer = Ritual

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‘A ritual is a stereotyped sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and designed to influence (unusual) entities or forces on behalf of the actors' goals and interests.’ Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community…. Rituals are characterized by traditionalism,… sacral symbolism and performance and are a feature of almost all known human societies, past or present.’


“… one of our most ancient methods for bringing people together is through rituals. When stepping into a sacred space, such as a festival or community garden, you pass through a certain threshold. You are able to step outside of your individuation and participate as one part of a greater whole; the community. The very nature of shared experience requires a certain level of communion.”


“Certainly a great deal, perhaps even most, of religious ritual has arrived at mere rote routine or even emptiness after a couple of thousand years. The ritual itself had replaced the sanctity of the real events it was meant to represent. However, ritual is valuable and can have great depths of meaning, can even be a gateway to inspiration, even enlightenment, … and from my observation, the principal ceremony to mark Quaker milestones is a meal: baby and new member welcomings, newcomers’ brunch, graduation, Friendly sevens — all revolve around a table where Friends are gathered to share food. These are not very complex events, but nevertheless, in their regularity and simplicity, maintain the meal as an important ritual celebration.


“Ritual is meant to inform, educate, and care for the soul and spirit in such a way that inner energy can blossom forth. Rituals encourage people to express their creative potential fully and also connect people with a sense that they are on a team which includes both other human people (in the form of community), and unseen forces of the Other world (like ancestors and allies and nature). It is not a technical, or engineered, chain of logic which connects a ritual to any effectiveness – it is an attempt to enroll whole systems in alliance for healing, movement, birthing the new life that wants to join this world.”


“The mythic images associated with the winter solstice help us shift our identification from the individual human condition to that which is eternal, bringing us into alignment with the powers of nature that operate in the universe, and in ourselves—thus generating harmony between macrocosm and microcosm. Amid the dark and cold of the long night, we celebrate the birth of hope.”

JCF MythBlast - Winter 2013 Solstice Edition

“Ceremony and rituals have long played a vital and essential role in Native American culture. Often referred to as “religion,” most Native Americans did not consider their spirituality, ceremonies, and rituals as “religion,” in the way that Christians do. Rather, their beliefs and practices form an integral and seamless part of their very being. Like other aboriginal peoples around the world, their beliefs were heavily influenced by their methods of acquiring food, – from hunting to agriculture. They also embraced ceremonies and rituals that provided power to conquer the difficulties of life,….”


Earth Activist Training Permaculture Design Course: “This unique permaculture design certificate course has an additional focus on earth-based spirituality, organizing, activism, and social permaculture. Learn how to heal soil and cleanse water, how to design human systems that mimic natural systems, how to use a minimum of energy and resources to create real abundance and social justice. Explore the strategies and organizing tools we need to make our visions real, and the daily practice, magic and rituals that can sustain our spirits. This course is participatory, hands-on teaching with lots of ritual, games, projects, (and) songs… .



Rituals have been invented and enjoyed by humans for eons. There is much connective tissue here including historic trends, sacred rites, religious routines, myths and laws.

The 5 new rituals in this work are synchronistic with ideas from my vision: tribes, the new mythology, in the Post-Chaos Era. Tribes are approximately 20 – 25 humans and their animals and plants are best viewed as the sustainable and spiritual unit for survival in the future.

Some rituals are fading (like classic myths) while new ones rise as our notion of the sacred evolves. At base, rituals are time-based and Nature-grounded. Finally, one could argue that there are major and minor rituals.

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Key Permaculture & Transition Values

It’s time to gear-up permaculture and transition principles with the tools of the new world:

• Appreciation for land preservation and environmental sensitive crops (non-GMO)
• Saving and sharing seeds
• Knowledge Sharing
• Inclusivity (Youth to Seniors)
• Resilience (back-up systems)
• Localization (local food and alt economic systems)
• Re-use & Re-cycle
• Alternative energy sources & practices
• Social justice
• Obtaining and using the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC)

Seek the Archetypical

Archetypes are very powerful images or dreams in our creative tool kit that can offer insights and guidance on our journey:

• Growing Season / Cycle
• Spiritual Healing
• Visioning
• Giving Thanks

Preparing for New Rituals?

Here is a checklist to reference when you are testing the ritual waters:

• Who is leading the event?
• How long is the ritual?
• When does it take place?
• What are the words?
• What is the foundation for the event?
• How is it integrated with others vales, ethics, events, practices?
• What are the symbols and songs?
• What materials / space are required?

New Symbols for Rituals

Here are six new symbols from my work in sacred permaculture that can be utilized in the new rituals:

• Diversity (Soil)
• Growth (Seeds)
• Harvest (Basket)
• Transformation (Fire + Smoke)
• Stewardship (Compost Pile)
• Localization (Community Well)

Stirring New Alchemy & Ritual

Alchemy is the spiritual driver for the new world. Here are some types of alchemy to consider when building new myths and rituals:

• Imaginative Alchemy: This alchemy excites and creates our ideas, conflicts and even prayers in our brains.

• Eco Alchemy: Seeds, soil, plants and animals living, birthing and dying in an inter-related system pulsed by eco alchemy.

• Shamanic Alchemy: This is alchemy transmutates healing through ceremonies and rituals lead by a trained spiritual leader.

• Sound or Sonic Alchemy: The ancient alchemic power of song from cave rants to classical music and rock’n’roll.

• Digital Alchemy: Electronic learning and feeling working with computers including chat text, email and documents.

• Community Alchemy: People working with people: transforming attitudes, sharing ideas and making plans.

• Earth Alchemy: Planetary consciousness building and human evolution on a universal scale.

5 New Nature-based Rituals for the Permaculture Transition

Abundance Dance (Celebrating Nature)
Multi-stage art & music festival

Compost Festival (Seed Sharing & Harvest Share)
Spring & Fall
Planting Tools, Dirt and Food Meet-up

Annual Cascadia Convergence (Concert)
Late Fall
Big Education and Networking Event

Food Forest Work Trek Weekends (Caring for the Earth & People)
Early Spring
Multiple Community Work Actions with Evening Pot Lucks

Resilience Expo – Practical Seminars and Clothing Share
4 times per year
Local Community Education and Support for Basic Needs


Fair to say that the modern rock concert is about big money, big egos, big security, big noise, big lights, big stages, big separation; big banality. But are these scenes a ritual? In contrast, Post-Chaos Era rituals can be hosted through reduced fee / barter exchanges, Nature-centricity, camp fires, mini-community theatre, bottom up and kid focused, not top down corporate profit chasing, not idol worship, but with community- based values, organizing and storytelling.

Integrated sacred action, new myths and rituals can start to each Tribe and then their networks.

Are your traditions - rituals?

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Additional References

“New Sharing & Return Rituals & Their Symbols in Transition” : by Willi Paul, openmythsource.com

"Transition Prayer Percussion Ritual" by Willi Paul, NewMythologist.com

"Cascadia Dream & Rituals" - Children’s Video by Willi Paul, NewMythologist.com

Instinct, observation and tribal wisdom Interview with Bron Taylor, author of Dark Green Religion by Willi Paul

Permaculture Teaching Video #3 - Sacred Alchemy & Symbols for the Permaculture Transition by Willi Paul. Filmed & Edited by claroscura.com

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